A Grants Pass man was arrested earlier this month after driving recklessly on Interstate 5 and speeding away from police multiple times after getting pulled over.

At approximately 8 p.m. on Feb. 10, a trooper from the Oregon State Police received a call about a silver Volkswagen Passat that had cut between two semi trucks on the highway, was driving at speeds up to 95 mph and was failing to maintain its lane south of Rice Hill.

The trooper caught up to the driver, who was later identified as Louis Nathaniel Smith, 65, near Myrtle Creek and began following his vehicle.

Smith moved from the right lane to the left lane for no apparent reason, sped up from 55 to 81 mph, and swayed back and forth within his lane straddling the center line at one point, according to the police affidavit.

The trooper flipped on his lights and pulled Smith over near milepost 103 before getting out of his patrol car and approaching the Passat. As the trooper got closer, Smith put the car back into drive and sped away. The trooper jumped back into his own vehicle and gave chase, following Smith, who exited the freeway onto Pruner Road, according to court documents.

When the trooper caught up, Smith again pulled to the right and stopped his vehicle. The trooper walked up to the vehicle and saw that Smith had turned his vehicle off and placed the keys on the dash. As the two talked, the trooper noticed an “overwhelming odor of alcohol” coming from Smith’s breath and that his speech was slurred and his eyes were watery and bloodshot, according to court documents.

But as the trooper went back to his vehicle with Smith’s driver’s license, Smith started his car and drove off, again leading the trooper on a chase.

Smith was eventually arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and attempting to elude a police officer. He was lodged at the Douglas County Jail and his vehicle was impounded and towed from the area.

Ian Campbell can be reached at ian@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4209. Or follow him on Twitter


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